We’ve all been there. You’re at home, you want to watch something funny on Netflix – but you don’t know where to start. There’s just so much available that you end up watching old episodes of Gossip Girl instead.
OK, so maybe the Gossip Girl thing is just us. But you get the picture.
That’s why the Stuff team has worked tirelessly to find the best comedy TV shows available on Netflix UK. Take a look and we’re sure you’ll find something to tickle your funny bone.
Dan Harmon’s sitcom about an American community college (widely regarded Stateside as a sort of low-rent vocational alternative to university) is packed with exactly the sort of knowing pop culture references, clever subversion of cliché and OTT characters that TV geeks adore. Small wonder it quickly became a cult favourite, source of quotable lines and (the true mark of a cult series if ever there was one), a triumphant return after being cancelled by its original network. Find out what all the fuss is about by binging the entire thing: all six seasons are available for streaming on Netflix.
Space Force (S1)
Steve Carell makes a long-awaited return to the small screen in this timely sitcom from Greg Daniels – previously involved with the US Office, King of the Hill, Parks and Recreation and The Simpsons. Carell plays the Mark Naird, the general in charge of America’s newest branch of the armed forces, tasked by Trump with bringing US hegemony to the moon, stars and beyond – but as expected things don’t quite go off with military precision.
Not only is the Space Force derided by the more traditional military organisations, but it’s staffed by a bunch of misfits and eccentrics that make Naird’s professional life a nightmare. And his personal life isn’t much better.
BoJack Horseman (S1-6)
A Netflix exclusive, this animated series features Arrested Development’s Will Arnett as the titular Horseman, a, er, “horse man” who enjoyed success while in a popular 1990s sitcom but now lives in a haze of booze and self-loathing as a washed-up former star. But don't worry if we've made it sound too grim - the show's serious:silly ratio is well balanced.
Set in a skewed version of Hollywood in which humans live alongside anthropomorphic animals, BoJack Horseman features a strong cast (Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul plays BoJack’s best friend Todd) and strong writing, and with five seasons available it's perfect fodder for a weekend binge-watch blowout.
I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson (S1)
Sketch shows can be a bit like luncheon meat, tank tops and hostess trolleys: unwanted, outmoded relics from the 1970s. But this Netflix original (along with Limmy’s Show, also featured in this list) is proof positive that there’s life in the old format yet.
Former Saturday Night Live star Tim Robinson co-writes and appears (along with a parade of familiar guest faces) in a collection of surreal, crude, inventive and ultimately hilarious skits that rarely end up where you expect them to.
As a sport in which a 70-year-old woman once gave birth to a human hand, wrestling isn’t exactly renowned for its nuanced storytelling. Thankfully, GLOW isn’t really about wrestling at all, but a gang of kickass women rallying against their demons and the dudes who’d rather keep them down.
Featuring a stellar lead turn by Alison Brie and set in 1980s Los Angeles (you can practically smell the hairspray), it's arguably Netflix's best original series since Stranger Things. Even if you've no idea of the difference between a duplex and a powerbomb.
Derry Girls (S1)
The first series of Channel 4’s raucous sitcom recently arrived on Netflix, so if you missed it the first time round (or just can’t deal with All 4’s woeful picture quality and endless stream of ads), here’s your chance to be whisked away to early 1990s Northern Ireland, into the lives of four Catholic girls (and one English boy) as they navigate their teenage years against the background of the Troubles. Not that Derry Girls takes itself at all seriously – sectarianism is just a rich comic seam to be mined.
You might be familiar with Australian comedian Chris Lilley through his previous mockumentaries Summer Heights High and Angry Boys. In Lunatics, he plays six typically Lilley-esque grotesques over ten episodes; from a South African pet medium to a foul-mouthed, Instagram-obsessed Aussie tween visiting relatives in England, or from an ex-porn star turned hoarder to a fashion designer sexually attracted to household objects, Lilley’s caricatures are keenly observed and frequently both horrifying and hilarious.
Russian Doll (S1)
The brainchild of Natasha Lyonne, Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland, this Netflix Original is like Groundhog Day by way of Girls: an acerbic, cynical, substance-abusing New Yorker (Lyonne) finds herself experiencing the same day over and over, repeatedly dying in increasingly bizarre accidents, only to wake up once again in a bathroom at her own birthday party. Has she smoked something dodgy, or lost her mind – or is there something more profound and spiritual at work here?
Hilarious, outrageous and inventive, this is precisely the type of series that cuts through the piles of sub-par filler accumulating on streaming services; a reminder of those halcyon days not so long ago when every Netflix-produced show was a certified banger. At just eight half-hour episodes, it’s also refreshingly brisk; in other words, you won’t need to live the same day over and over just to get it finished.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (S1-2)
A riotous comedy-drama-thriller loosely based on the Douglas Adams-penned novels, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency isn’t like any other show on the box. In fact, it isn’t like anything else in the world – and it’s all the better for that.
The plot is far too convoluted to detail here, but that's precisely the point: as an “holistic” detective, Dirk Gently simply investigates crimes he happens across, following the most obscure and seemingly unconnected of leads as he does so. What transpires is a glorious mess of offbeat diversions, Technicolor characters and bizarre events taking in psychic powers, cats, dogs, homicidal angels, torture, some really lovely leather jackets and Elijah Wood. Best mainlined in a few lengthy sittings - it's too confusing – and too good – to watch piecemeal.
The arrival of every single episode of the 1990s’ most popular sitcom on Netflix feels like an occasion worthy of fanfare – even if, let’s face it, you’ve probably seen each any every one of them multiple times before on Channel 4.
For the two or three readers that don’t know, Friends is a long-running (10 seasons, over 10 years!) multi-cam sitcom about six… well, let’s call them “buddies” living in Manhattan. While it’s packed with great gags and compelling, series-arching plots, the show’s true pull is in its well-drawn and likeable characters. Ross, Rachel, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler and Monica’s struggles as they navigate love, career, life and everything in between are sure to suck you in, even if some of the writing and production values feels very dated when viewed through a 2018 lens.
Master of None (S1-2)
Comedian Aziz Ansari plays jobbing actor Dev in this New York-set series about life, love and tacos. Actually, one suspects Ansari is really playing himself (his real-life parents even play Dev’s onscreen parents), and a big part of the charm is watching him work through various subjects over the course of the series, which now numbers two full seasons.
It’s rather self-obsessed, and some viewers may find the whimsy hard to stomach, but it's also funny, charming and occasionally thought-provoking. Well worth a few hours of your time.
The Good Place (S1-4)
The only reassuring thing about dealing with greedy lawyers, grumpy cashiers and racist builders is the knowledge that they’ll eventually end up in Hell watching Made in Chelsea for eternity. Saying that, despite being an all-round bad egg on Earth, Kristen Bell’s character in this Netflix Original somehow ends up in heaven. Turns out even angels and demons can make mistakes at work.
While Bell’s performance stands out with her relatable struggles to fit into a world full of goody-two-shoes, Jameela Jamil’s outlandish vanity and William Jackson Harper uptight moral code will also subject you to a few giggling fits. And unlike most comedies, The Good Place has a plot that will keep you gasping and gawping until the very end.